One of RI-INBRE’s most effective initiatives has been the Rhode Island Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, which provides students with 10-week research fellowships to gain hands-on experience conducting biomedical research.

Bongsup Cho Professor Pharmacy Director, RI-INBRE

secondary bioactive metabolites with antimicrobial activity. Garcia calls the project the “single most influential experience” of his young scientific career. “This experience fostered a sense of community and collaboration the likes of which I had never experienced before,” Garcia reflects. “As an inner-city youth with little exposure to the possibilities and options STEM had to offer, the SURF program gave me the push to explore passions I didn’t know I had.” As a result of his participation in the program, Garcia went on to earn a doctorate at Brown University in molecular pharmacology and physiology, which led to his present job as assistant research professor and co-director of Brown’s Weiss Center for Orthopedic Trauma Research.

The new RI-INBRE funding cycle establishes post- baccalaureate positions to encourage outstanding students to remain in Rhode Island. To support former SURF students enrolling in graduate school new teaching assistantships are being created. Additionally, the new grant will help improve the teaching postdoctoral fellowship program and launch community engagement activities which will promote collaborations with other research program grants in the state. “The RI-INBRE program has been truly transformative for Rhode Island,” concludes Cho. “We’ve contributed to faculty success, trained hundreds of students who are now out in the workforce or earning advanced degrees in biomedical science, and we’ve inspired a culture change among researchers, especially at the primarily-undergraduate institutions. And we’re not finished yet.”

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Spring 2019 | 19 |

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